First, it's my birthday in early November, so an annual review at this time of year is a good thing to do. Secondly, there is an article in the City AM paper today (free financial newsletter in London) which says that the age-group 45 to 54 year olds saves only 12p in the £ which is the lowest of any age-group and that they are probably the least prepared for oncoming retirement.
As I am in that age-group (just - I'm 54 on 8th November) I can understand the malais regarding pension planning. This age-group has borne the brunt of the financial catastrophes that have plagued the private individual since the early 1990's.
We've had the
- endownment mis-selling scandal;
- endownment shortfall scandal;
- pensions theft;
- pension shortfalls;
- pension mis-selling;
- housing inflation bubbles;
- housing price collapse;
- and so on, and so on....
The thing is, it is never too late to try and make amends and, with the likelihood that many of us will live to see our 90th birthday and probably live a few years longer than that, pension planning is vitally important given we could spend 20+ years if not fully retired, then living off a much reduced income.
My pension fund looked like hitting it's 20% annual growth target in early October, but has since dropped slightly over 3% in value to be worth just under £67,000.
My biggest loser financially has been AZEM. I hold 2000 shares in the company bought at an average of 323 and, as of this morning, they are at 280. I think they will recover, but it's been a rocky ride.
HSBA has also been an underperformer for my SIPP. Banks haven't been doing well, but HSBA seems to hold strong fundamentals and my hope is that went sentiment swings back towards the bank the share price will jump up substantially from the current 680-685 range.
Both OPAY and IPF have had set-backs from recent highs, but both companies appear to have strong order-books and are good long-term plays for their respective growing markets. I can see both companies being bid targets given their future profit potential.
One new addition to the SIPP portfolio is the investment trust Blackrock World Mining (BRWM). It has a strong dividend yield and will be able to take advantage of any upswing in commodity prices should the economic recovery gather some speed.